TAC & Rule Updates
The Gold Standard project cycle is the most technically rigorous project cycle in the carbon market. Instrumental to this certification process is The Gold Standard Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), an independent body composed of market specialists, including engineers, policymakers and lawyers. Projects in The Gold Standard’s project pipeline can undergo scrutiny from the TAC during review periods. The expertise and guidance of the TAC has significantly contributed to the credibility of The Gold Standard as it stands today.
The TAC meets on a regular basis to discuss both the operational side of The Gold Standard and the regulatory decisions for methodologies, rules and procedures. This section outlines the TAC proceedings and decisions as well as the relevant updates and clarifications to The Gold Standard Rules and Procedures.
RULE UPDATES OPEN/CLOSE
07 Feb 2014: Guidelines for carrying out usage surveys for projects implementing household water filtration technologies
31 Jan 2014: Procedures for registering a multi-country Programme of Activities (PoA)
The procedures for registering a multi-country GS voluntary PoAs have been further clarified. These procedures also include clarifications for post-registration design change to expand PoA boundary to new countries. These clarifications are applicable to all Gold Standard voluntary PoAs registered after 31 January 2014.
31 Jan 2014: Requirements for the quality standards to be met by safe water supply projects
This rule update provides requirements for the treated water quality standards to be met by safe water supply projects. These guidelines are mandatory for all safe water supply projects with the time of first submission after 31 January 2014.
Nov 2013: Revision to The Gold Standard Registration Review Period
The Gold Standard registration review period has been revised from 8-weeks to 6-weeks.
This revision has been made based on the feedback received during an extensive consultation period held in July and August 2013. During this period, The Gold Standard Secretariat requested input and feedback on the proposed timelines for its review processes at the various steps of the certification cycle. One of the most frequently received comments was in terms of the length of time it took to conduct the registration review period. Project Proponents deemed that the current 8-weeks was too long and should be revised to make the review process more time efficient.
The revised registration review period of 6-weeks will be applicable for all Gold Standard version projects, including micro-scale projects submitted for registration from 1 November 2013.
Full details are located in the following PDF:
May 2013: Sustainable Development Accreditation Scheme
The Gold Standard has just launched its new Sustainable Development Accreditation Scheme. The requirements and application forms are attached below:
January 2013: The Application of Global Warming Potentials for Gold Standard Project Activities
The Global Warming Potential (GWP) is the measure of heat a greenhouse gas traps in the atmosphere, expressed as a factor of carbon dioxide. The document below outlines the process for applying GWPs to Gold Standard project activities and Programme of Activities (PoA) within the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
June 2012: The Launch of Gold Standard Version 2.2
In June 2012 The Gold Standard released the new version of its rules and requirements, known as GS V2.2.
The attachment below summaries the changes and additions made to V2.2
For other high-level information click: The launch of V2.2
For the actual rules and requirements link to: Project certification – rules and toolkit section
RULES UPDATE ARCHIVE OPEN/CLOSE
22 November 2011: Please review the latest Gold Standard rule updates.
Revised Standalone Micro-scale Scheme
The first generation micro-scale scheme and the community focused micro-scale scheme have been consolidated to form a revised standalone micro-scale scheme. The eligibility threshold has been raised to 10,000 tCO2e per annum. Deemed additionality is applied to non-retroactive activities targeting poor communities. The use of Objective Observers for the appraisal of potential risks and negative impacts in place of a full assessment by project developers themselves is extended to all activities, but based on a statistical, target-random selection instead of a systematic use. Project activities can still apply under the first generation OR community focused micro-scale scheme rules as long as they are formally submitted by the 31 December 2011. Project activities already submitted under the first generation OR community focused micro-scale scheme, can be upgraded to the revised standalone micro-scale scheme upon request by project proponents as long as they comply with all requirements of the revised scheme and project documentation is modified accordingly.
This new scheme allows for the extension of the programmatic approach to The Gold Standard’s micro-scale scheme activities. It combines benefits associated with the respective approaches, such as the concept of a validation and verification fund and the simplified procedures for the replication of similar activities under a programme. Each activity under the programme is capped at 10,000 tCO2e per annum, but no overall cap is applied to the programme as a whole. Project activities already submitted under any of the standalone micro-scale schemes can be included in a future micro-programme, upon request by project proponents and as long as they have not yet been submitted for internal or external validation.
The Gold Standard has a two-step stakeholder feedback mechanism already in place whereby local stakeholders have an opportunity to give feedback on the project during the local consultation process and the stakeholder feedback round. Stakeholders can also provide inputs over the crediting period on issues identified in the monitoring plan. No formal mechanism however was available to solicit feedback from stakeholders during the crediting period on issues identified outside of the monitoring plan.
In response to the request for strengthened means for post-registration local stakeholder inputs and in line with feedback received from the field, this new grievance mechanism is now introduced whereby all projects applying for Gold Standard registration must have a formal continuous input mechanism in place which will help foster mutual trust between project owners and local stakeholders.
The rationale will be to remediate issues identified during the crediting period as early as possible and prior to verification. Unforeseen issues that may arise during the course of the project and are not identified in the monitoring plan can also be addressed this way and local stakeholders can suggest improvements or modifications based on their understanding of the local situation.
This new mechanism applies to all project activities formally submitted to Gold Standard after 22 November 2011. It is encouraged but optional for activities already submitted. Please click on the link below to access the rules of the grievance mechanism.
Projects that are formally submitted by 31 December 2011 are not mandated to have a Grievance Mechanism in place.
Special Procedures for Conflict Zones and Refugee Camps
Projects proponents face considerable problems in contracting a DOE for validation and/or verification of projects located in conflict zones or refugee camps. These new rules allow for deviation from the usual procedures in such circumstances and to combine desk review by DOEs with on-site visits conducted by Objective Observers. All project activities, irrespective of their status in The Gold Standard project cycle, can adopt these procedures.
Methodology and Tool – Version Validity
The period within which the project documentation must be submitted for Gold Standard validation in order to use the version of the methodology or tool applicable at the time of first submission has been extended to 6 months (instead of 3 months in the current rules). If the project activity is not submitted for Gold Standard validation within the 6-month deadline, then the latest available version of the methodology and tool(s), at the time of submission for validation, must be applied. The time of submission for DOE validation is the date when the DOE is contracted for the validation of the project activity. This revision is applicable to project activities already formally submitted to Gold Standard but not yet submitted for validation.
Annex F Revised – Gold Standard Programme of Activities (PoA) Rules and Guidance
The revised Annex F provides clarifications on the stakeholder consultation process and programme timeframe. It also provides additional information on sustainability assessment, multiple types of activities in a programme, DOE site visits, inclusion and verification procedures, multi-country programmes, criteria for compliance check and post-registration design change. These updated rules apply to PoAs submitted to the Gold Standard after 22 November 2011. PoAs already submitted may apply the additional guidance provided in the revised Annex F, as deemed useful.
PoA Programmes can still apply using the earlier version of the Annex F (Dated – 23 December, 2010) as long as the project is formally submitted by 31 December 2011.
Methodology Eligibility Tool
The tool provides information on the eligibility of the CDM methodologies under The Gold Standard. The tool will be updated on a regular basis so as to account for both new or revised CDM methodologies and Gold Standard rule changes.
Annex C Revised – Specific Eligibility Criteria
The revised Annex C provides the latest revisions of The Gold Standard specific eligibility criteria. These revisions apply to all new project activities but can also apply to project activities already submitted, upon request by project proponents.
Biogas project activities: the requirement of the demonstration of 65% minimum utilisation ratio has been removed. Project activities shall be eligible for emission reductions from both methane avoidance (including the flared biogas fraction) and non-renewable fuel substitution as long as at the time of validation, evidence is provided to demonstrate that the system is designed in a way to at least make use of some of the biogas recovered for the delivery of energy services (e.g. electricity, heat).
Biomass project activities: the 5% cap on the share of non-renewable fuel in the electricity or heat annual delivery is now replaced by the requirement of a renewable fuel share of 50% after the first 3 years of operation for retrofit projects, and of 80% from the outset for greenfield projects.
For all project activities registered after 4 November 2010, the formal registration date will be the end of the registration review period, whatever the date at which all issues raised are closed.
23 December 2010: Please click below to download the latest version of the Programme of Activities Rules and Guidance:
23 July 2010: Sectoral Scopes for Gold Standard VER methodologies: Please click on the link to check the sectoral scopes that have been assigned to Gold Standard VER methodologies
Community focused micro-scale scheme
Please click below to download the document containing the new GS rules regarding fast-track retroactive projects:
TAC JUNE 2012 OPEN/CLOSE
1. Revision to the methodology ‘Technologies and Practices to Displace Decentralized Thermal Energy Consumption’:
It has now been clarified that the methodology allows for inclusion of technologies with different designs under a single project scenario as long as their thermal efficiency or their specific energy consumption fall within +/-5% difference in absolute terms instead of relative terms, as previously applied.
2. Revision to the Annex A (safe water supply) of the methodology ‘Technologies and Practices to Displace Decentralized Thermal Energy Consumption’:
It was decided to allow project developers to choose between the following two options with respect to the consideration of raw water boiled in the project situation:
a. Apply the current provisions of the methodology whereby data is collected on ‘raw water boiled after introduction of water treatment technology’ and a cap of 7.5 l/p/d is applied on the total amount of treated water for consumption per person per day, including water needed for cooking. In this situation the definitions of Lbl,i,y and Lpj,i,y remain as described in the methodology.
b. Do NOT monitor the raw water boiled in the project situation and apply a cap of 6 l/p/d is applied on the amount of water treated by the water treatment technology for drinking water, hand washing and food washing. The 6 l/p/d cap is set so as to account for the crediting of water used for hand and food washing, in the absence of figures from WHO on minimum service level for hand and food washing (basic hygiene). In such a case, the definitions of Lbl,i,y and Lpj,i,y are therefore revised. Lbl,i,y is defined as the total amount of raw water treated with the water treatment technology. Lpj,i,y is defined as the total amount of treated water that is still boiled.
3. Default non-renewable biomass fraction (NRB):
It was decided to allow the use in the context of Gold Standard projects of the default NRB fractions approved by CDM EB as published in Annex 22 of the EB 67 meeting report, provided the DNA of the project host country has formally approved the corresponding NRB fraction. Approval of the use of a default NRB fraction can be sought on a case-by-case basis where these have not been approved by DNAs, after feedback has been collected by project developers on the appropriateness of this NRB fraction through stakeholder consultation. These default NRB fractions can be used irrespective of the scale of the Gold Standard project. In case of formal rejection or revision of these default NRB fractions at a later stage, following decisions by DNAs, Gold Standard project developers shall revise these accordingly.
TAC NOVEMBER 2010 OPEN/CLOSE
• The latest changes in the TAC members
• Approved new or revised voluntary methodologies
• Micro-scale scheme
• Appeal body
• Fast track rule for pre-feasibility assessments
Three new members have recently joined the TAC.
• Alexia Kelly – formerly with the World Resources Institute as Senior Associate, Climate and Energy Program, and now with the U.S. State Department’s Climate Change Office
• Shigueo Watanabe – formerly with Orbeo, now independent consultant (CO2 Consulting). Shigueo is based in Brazil and has acted as a GS point of contact for several years
• Dr. Suddha Padmanabha – Senior CDM Consultant with Fair Climate Network (GS NGO Supporter), previously with Velcan Energy and the Center for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Sciences
Two members have recently step down from the TAC. The Gold Standard Foundation would like to thank Holger Liptow (GTZ) and Jürg Grütter (Grütter consulting) for their inputs and support.
Approved new or revised voluntary methodologies
The TAC has approved two new voluntary methodologies for GS-VERS:
1. Thermal energy from plant oil for the use of cooking stoves
This methodology, developed by BSH Bosch and Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH, applies to the use of various plant oils (e.g. physic nut oil, coconut oil, palm oil) for stoves based in households or small enterprises such as restaurants or breweries.
2. Introduction of an alternative ignition technique as measure to improve the energy efficiency of domestic coal fires
This methodology falls under the category of end-use energy efficiency improvement and provides detailed guidance on how to determine baseline emissions, estimate post intervention emission savings and monitoring using sound statistics. The methodology is not applicable to projects that promote coal use but only to project activities that introduce an alternative efficient ignition technique to reduce GHG emissions in households that use coal in an open fire or a coal-burning device to produce domestic thermal energy for use in activities such as cooking, heating and ironing. The methodology has been developed by the Nova Institute, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa.
The TAC has also approved revised versions of two voluntary methodologies for GS-VERS:
1. Indicative Program, Baseline and Monitoring Methodology for Large-Scale Supply and Distribution of Efficient Light Bulb, Showerheads and Water Saving Products to Households – version 2
The methodology has been revised to extend applicability to include supply and installation of water saving products in households with fossil fuel fired water heaters. In this methodology, water saving products exclusively refers to low-flow showerheads and flow regulators installed on water fixtures that typically dispense hot water for the purpose of personal and/or household cleaning or washing and are limited to bathrooms and kitchen sinks. The extension to include fossil-fired water heaters has been completed by Faulkner Opportunity LLC and South Pole Carbon Asset Management Ltd.
2 Indicative Programme, Baseline, and Monitoring Methodology for Improved Cook-Stoves and Kitchen Regimes – version 2
This methodology has been updated to allow the eligibility of project activities that reduce the amount of firewood consumed by changing kitchen practice from water boiling as a purification technique to the introduction of new zero emission technology that treats water (e.g. gravity household water filters). The extension to include water treatment activities has been completed by Carbon Bridge Pte Ltd.
The TAC has approved a new, community-focused micro-scale scheme. This scheme focuses on micro-scale project activities benefiting poor communities worldwide, especially in Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Least Developed Countries (LLDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The purpose of the new micro-scale scheme is to further streamline the project cycle and reduce transaction costs. Click here to view the Rule Updates.
The TAC has also approved the application of the CDM guidelines (EB-54, Annex 15) to Gold Standard project activities applying under the voluntary scheme and the regular project cycle (non-retroactive project activities). These guidelines for very small-scale activities (renewable energy projects up to 5 MW and energy efficiency projects with energy savings up to 20 GWh/ annum) are therefore applicable to both GS CDM and GS VER project activities that meet the criteria put forward by the Executive Board and have been submitted to Gold Standard after August 2nd 2010.
The CDM new guidance is not applicable to project activities applying under the community-focused micro-scale scheme. Further discussions are taking place to decide on the applicability of this new CDM guidance to retroactive voluntary project activities and to activities that were submitted prior to August 2nd 2010.
The TAC has approved draft arbitration rules for a proposed state-of-the-art appeals procedure that will provide project developers with recourse against adverse decisions by The Gold Standard regarding registration, issuance or labeling of emission reductions. Initially, the right to appeal would be limited to project proponents, project applicants and project owners. These parties would be required to first submit their disagreement with a Gold Standard decision to mediation within six weeks. If the mediation proves unsuccessful, the parties would have the option to appeal the dispute to arbitration. See Appeals Procedure News Story
Fast-track rule for pre-feasibility assessments
In response to concerns expressed with regards to the timeline associated with the pre-feasibility assessment of retroactive project activities, the TAC has approved the revision of the ʻfast-trackingʼ process, previously available to GS experienced project proponents only, and to make it an available option for all submitted retroactive project activities (inc. those within PoAs) as long as the DOE contracted for validation complies with certain criteria ensuring validation or verification teams are familiar with Gold Standard rules & procedures. Click to view Rule Updates.
TAC JANUARY 2010 OPEN/CLOSE
Governance, Guidelines and Responsibilities – The Gold Standard TAC Terms of Reference has been updated.
TAC SEPTEMBER 2009 OPEN/CLOSE
• PoAs in the compliance market
• New approved voluntary methodologies
• Micro-scale scheme
• Retroactive registration of CDM project activities
• VERs in capped countries
• Appeal body
PoAs in the compliance market
The Gold Standard registration process takes place at the PoA level. However, for CDM PoAs, under special circumstances such as when the PoA Coordinating Entity is not willing to act as The Gold Standard Coordinator, the TAC has decided to allow for registration at the CPA level, following an evaluation that will be performed on a case-by-case basis.
In the case that registration takes place at the CPA level, the following conditions must be satisfied:
• The serial numbers associated with the CERs issued by the UNFCCC to the relevant CDM PoA must allow for a clear differentiation among the various CPAs;
• The CDM PoA-Design Document (DD) and the different CDM CPA-DDs will have to be provided to GS for review;
• A GS PoA-DD must be submitted to GS for approval, which will contain all the information necessary to allow the DOE to perform a GS compliance check for the subsequent CPAs. It will be submitted together with a first CPA-DD;
• GS CPA project documentation, i.e., the CPA-DD and the CPA-Passport must be delivered for each one of the GS applicant CPAs.
All other relevant Gold Standard version 2.1 rules apply. In exchange for this flexibility, The Gold Standard will ask project proponents to actively convey The Gold Standard message in the context of their PoAs in order to attract as many CPAs as possible to the GS stream.
New approved voluntary methodologies
The TAC has approved two new voluntary methodologies for GS-VERS:
1. Biodiesel from Waste Oil/Fat (Revised AM0047),
2. Indicative Program, Baseline and Monitoring Methodology for Large-Scale Supply and Distribution of Efficient Light Bulb and Showerhead Products to Households.
Regarding the GS voluntary methodology, Indicative Programme, Baseline and Monitoring Methodology for Improved Cook-Stoves and Kitchen Regimes, the TAC has clarified that this methodology is applicable to water-filtering project activities, although formal approval is conditional to appropriate revisions of the methodology currently under development.
The TAC also clarified that the use of the old stoves in parallel with the improved stoves after project implementation is allowed for, but under the condition that a mechanism is put in place to provide an incentive for the surrendering of the old stoves. This can be in the form of a discount of emission reductions from the households where the old stoves are still in use, or a discount on the selling price of the stoves for households surrendering their old stove.
The TAC is in favour of the development of a streamlined registration process for Renewable Energy micro-scale project activities in households and livelihoods in LDCs. The new scheme will be re-assessed after a one-year pilot phase.
The TAC is also in favour of raising the maximum threshold for the current micro-scale scheme from 5,000 to 10,000 tonnes CO2e per year under the condition that the impact on the reviewing procedures is acceptable and the induced additional workload can be coped with and does not induce quality losses. The conditions for such a revision to be enforced are under investigation.
Retroactive registration of CDM project activities
The TAC has confirmed that the maximum period of time eligible for retroactive crediting for GS CDM project activities is two years from the time of registration under Gold Standard (same as for VER project activities), and will not be extended to the full period between CDM registration and The Gold Standard registration in case this period exceeds two years.
VERs in capped countries
The TAC has confirmed that it will not allow for the issuance of VERs in cap countries prior to the retirement of an equivalent amount of AAUs.
The TAC has confirmed that an Appeal Body should be established. The way this new body should interact with the current governance structure is under investigation.
TAC JUNE 2009 OPEN/CLOSE
Issues under discussion by the TAC currently include:
• Applicability of Gold Standard methodologies to various circumstances
• Micro-scale projects threshold and scheme design
• Voluntary Programmes of Activities
• Eligibility rules: hydro projects, co-firing projects, biogas projects
• Appeal body